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Full text of "My Country And My People"

294          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

cannot be satisfied with anything less than Henner's Liseuse or
Madeleine.

This discovery of the human body is, to-day, one of the most

potent influences  of Western  civilization in  China,  for it

changes the whole outlook of life by changing the source of

artistic inspiration.   In the final analysis this must be called

a Greek influence.  The Renaissance revival of learning came

with the Renaissance worship of the human body and its

hearty avowal that life is beautiful. A great part of the Chinese

tradition is humanistic enough without any Greek influence,

but the proclamation that the human body is beautiful has

been strangely lacking in China.  Once, however, our eyes are

opened to the beauty of the human body, we are not likely to

forget it.  This discovery of the human body and worship of

the female form is bound to be a most potent influence because

it is linked up with one of the strongest of human instincts, that

of sex.  In this sense, we may say that Apollonian ait is being

replaced by Dionysian art in China, inasmuch as Chinese art

is not being taught in most of the Chinese schools, not even in

most of the art schools. They are all copying female anatomy

from human models or from plaster figures of classical (Greek

and Roman) sculpture. It is useless to plead Platonic sesthetic-

ism in the worship of the nude, for only effete artists can regard

the human body with a passionless admiration, and only effete

artists will stoop to make the plea at alL  The worship of the

human body is sensual, and necessarily so.   Real European

artists do not deny the fact, but proclaim it.   The same

accusation cannot be made against Chinese art.  But whether

we will it or not, the trend has set in and is not likely to be

stopped.

IV, ARCHITECTURE

Nature is always beautiful, but human architecture usually
is act* For unlike painting, architecture is not even an attempt
to copy nature. Architecture was originally a matter of
stones and bricks and mortar, piled together to give man
shelter from wind and rain. Its first principle was utility, and